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Norwich - With a list of more than three dozen potential applicants whittled down to a select few, the city is creeping closer to choosing its next deputy police chief, the second in command in the region's largest police force.
City of Norwich Director of Human Resources Brigid Marks said the application process that began after former Deputy Chief Warren Mocek retired in October has reduced a candidate pool of 37 to seven as of this week.
It's the first time the city has advertised the deputy chief's position outside of the department, and Marks said the city has gone to great lengths to ensure advertisements and invitations reached a broad range of applicants that include minorities. The goal, she said, is to find the best possible person for the job. The city previously broke with past tradition and advertised outside the city for positions of deputy comptroller and assistant human resources director.
Just one current member of the police force, Capt. Patrick Daley, was eligible to apply for the deputy chief position. Daley, a 20-year veteran of the department and longtime chief of the East Great Plain Fire Department, is still in the running.
Daley was the only one eligible because applicants must have at least eight years of law enforcement experience and at least three years in a supervisory capacity at the rank of lieutenant or higher, according to the job announcement. Two Norwich police lieutenants, Christopher Ferace and Albert Costa, missed the eligibility requirements by just a few months, having been promoted to the rank of lieutenant in June 2011. Applications were due April 14.
Marks said that out of the 37 people who first showed interest, only 28 qualified for the position. All were invited to the first of two tests, but just 16 called to confirm and took the test. Candidates ranged in rank from lieutenant to chief, Marks said.
Candidates were handed a laptop at a Norwich Public Utilities conference room and asked to solve a series of scenarios that tested time management skills and asked questions on topics that included discipline or delegation of duties. The assessments were followed by three essay questions. The written portion of the test is 50 percent of the final grade.
"Some did really well, some not so well," Marks said.
The second part of the test is an oral panel scheduled for Sept. 3 in which applicants will face three Connecticut police chiefs who will ask a series of questions.
The names of the top five candidates will be forwarded to Norwich Police Chief Louis J. Fusaro Sr., who will make the final decision on who will be his next second in command.
Marks said she could not speculate on how long before the next deputy chief is hired.
"It's not a quick process," Marks said.
With an annual salary of $103,755, the deputy chief is expected to direct operations of police staff and support services, provide logistical planning for special events, oversee emergency dispatchers, coordinate department training and supervise internal investigations, among a host of other job duties.
Chief Fusaro could not be reached for comment.